Title: Dead Ground
Fandom: Gundam Wing
Pairings: 1/2 , 3/4 (equal amount of time given to both pairings)
Type: Horror, Suspense, Angst, Yaoi
Warnings: Language, Violence
Summary: The Gundam pilots find themselves at an abandoned cabin; at least, abandoned of anything living. What does Quatre know that he’s not telling the others, and will they find out in time to save their sanity?
Chapter Listing Here
It was dark.
It was dark and the air was damp.
The dripping sounded all around him as he walked…
In the darkness he walked.
The ground was wet beneath his feet. He knew this because he could feel the cold moisture seeping into his shoes.
The air smelled faintly of metallic muskiness.
He hoped not.
His nose, ears, cheeks, fingers and toes were starting to get numb with the stinging cold.
Where am I? he thought.
Who am I?
With all the splashing he knew he was doing, he thought that there should be some sound other than the incessant dripping that echoed in the darkness.
He supposed he should feel fear in the darkness… but he didn’t.
Alone. This was the only emotion he felt as he walked. His heart ached and his eyes felt watery.
I just want to die, he thought. It’s too much. The loneliness is just too much.
Why am I here? Why did I come here…?
He dropped to his knees slowly and lowered his head in his hands. I just can’t go on… A tear slid down his cheek to his chin and dropped.
Drip… It was loud in his ears. He ran his hand over the wet streak on his face.
He lifted his head and looked around.
“Hello?” he called out into the darkness, or at least thought he did. His lips moved and he felt the vibrations in his throat, but his ears heard no sound.
He began to crawl forward, trying to ignore the loneliness in his heart. The ground beneath his fingers was slimy, wet, and cold. He felt nauseated and when he could take it no more, he leaned over to one side and began to dry heave.
It felt like he had been crawling for hours in the muck beneath his hands and knees when he bumped into something hard. He lifted a hand and felt smooth wood under his fingers.
When he found the door handle, he pulled himself up. He could feel the cold greasy goo slide down his legs from his knees, and down his arms from his hands. It was difficult to fight the nauseating feeling in his stomach.
He hesitated. His hand was on the doorknob, but he hesitated. Where would this lead? Would it be worse than where he was now? He didn’t think it could be. Here he was surrounded by loneliness and grief. The tears of who knew how many people, echoing around him in the darkness.
But this door, with its smooth wood and cool metal handle…
No. He would chance it.
He would chance it because if he stayed here… he would die. He would die, because he wouldn’t have the heart to go on living. This door might hold some chance for him, whatever that could be he didn’t know.
He turned the doorknob and opened the door.
Wufei ran up the wooden stairs that led to the porch surrounding the cabin. Though the porch was open to the elements, it did have a cover to protect it from the sun and rain. Wiping the water from his face, Wufei suddenly realized that his hair tie was missing. Strands of the black shoulder-length hair stuck to his face and neck and he growled in irritation as he detached the sodden strands from his skin and raked the hair back with his fingers.
He looked back the way he’d come, but the rain was now so heavy that it was difficult to see past the porch. The veranda was unimpressive in its state of disrepair. There was an old wooden bench and as tempting as it was to sit down, Wufei didn’t think it would hold his weight.
There was a window on each side of the door. They were both streaked with dirt and it was difficult to see in. The cabin was short on one side and longer on the other. On the long side there was another, smaller window past the one near the door.
The kitchen window… The moment the thought came to his head, Wufei knew it was correct. He also realized he knew that the window between the kitchen window and the door would look into the front room and the window on the other side of the door would look in at the stairs.
Wufei put a hand to his head. He wasn’t sure how he knew these things… He felt like part of his memory was gone, and he was only getting it back in snatches. His eyes moved to the front door. Maybe he should go inside. After all, it seemed that he had been there before…
“You should leave,” came a voice behind Wufei and he spun quickly around to find a small boy, about seven or eight years old, looking at him with a serious expression.
“What?” Wufei asked the boy, who hadn’t been there a moment before.
“You should leave,” the child repeated.
Wufei looked closer at the boy. He seemed… familiar… The child had dark messy hair and his eyes were an amazing shade of blue. It was obvious that the child was of Japanese heritage, both from the boy’s looks and his speech.
“Who are you?” he asked.
The dark-haired child looked confused for a moment then waved a hand. “It doesn’t matter who I am. Leave. Now.”
Wufei raised an eyebrow at the command, then looked out at the rain. “And where exactly am I supposed to go?”
“Back to where you are.”
When the door opened, he saw that it was night on the other side. Lit torches lined the streets for those who might be out, but he saw no one about. He stepped out and shut the door behind himself. Looking down he could see the cold ooze on his legs and arms. It looked like mud… but he wasn’t so sure… Reaching over with his hand, he touched some of the greasy wetness on his other arm. It felt gritty… but it hadn’t felt gritty before… It was as if the slime had changed properties when he had come through the door. But… that wasn’t possible… was it? Well whatever it was, it hadn’t been mud. Mud didn’t feel… greasy...
Startled at the noise, he looked around to find the source of the dripping and found it moments later. Water was dripping from the roof of the… he looked at the structure behind himself… Shack? Hut? House? He wasn’t sure what to call it, but water was dripping from the roof into a puddle on the ground.
He felt some satisfaction at putting his hand in the path of the water and stopping, if only for a moment, the dripping. This dripping, at least, sounded normal. It didn’t take long for him to notice that the air was damp, although this also felt natural, and there were puddles on the ground as if it had rained recently.
He also noticed, as he looked up and down the road, that there were no lights on in any of the windows. Maybe it was really late? He shrugged. Staying near this shack wasn’t doing him any good.
He stepped out from beneath the awning of the house and began down the muddy road, looking at the buildings as he continued on. He was so taken in by his surroundings that he didn’t notice the fact that his reflection didn’t show in any of the puddles. Nor did he notice the reflection of a Chinese teenager going the other way in the muddy water.
Back to where I am? What does that mean? Wufei thought.
The child looked around, stepped closer to Wufei and whispered, “They know you are here… He knows you are here…”
Wufei’s eyebrows knit together. “Who are they? Who is he?”
The messy-haired boy looked around again then stepped away from Wufei. “I cannot say.”
“Cannot or will not?”
The sounds of a large gathering met his ears and he followed the sound. There were many people, perhaps the whole village, in a large gathering area… the town square…? A low din of excitement rose from the crowd as they waited. A tall man with sandy-blond hair was standing on a raised platform of sorts and he thought that the man would soon address the people. He supposed the man was someone important, for he had a commanding air about him, but the sandy-haired man looked too young to be the mayor or anything like that. Truth be told… the man looked very young… maybe in his early twenties...
There were seven young men… boys really, standing on the platform as well. The looks on their faces showed pride and a type of courage. The feelings he felt from the waiting boys couldn’t be more different. Fear and uncertainty seemed to emanate from the boys. It was so strong he was surprised everyone wasn’t aware of it.
The voice of the man rang out over the low din of the people and soon the crowd quieted to listen.
“My people… this is an important time. A glorious time, for the Gods will bestow their blessings upon you. You have, once again, graciously offered fine young men to help me in my quest for eternal life. The heavens will reward such generosity on your part and on these young men’s part. You have already received great prosperity and you will continue to, you can be sure of it.”
The crowd cheered and the boys on the platform began to fidget nervously. The man put up his hands to quiet the crowd, but the lone observer in the back didn’t hear the man’s next words because a pssst sound came from his side. When he looked over, a boy about fourteen or fifteen years of age was beckoning to him.
“You must get away!” the boy whispered fiercely.
“Yes! Get way! This town is cursed. Please believe me…” The boy looked pleadingly at him to understand. “Those people won’t listen to me. They’ve been brainwashed for years… even since before I was born… but I know the truth. I do!”
He looked closely at the other boy. The teenager was gangly and of a medium height. Large ears stuck out from under shaggy red hair, and bright green eyes begged to be taken seriously.
“You are like me… I can tell. It isn’t safe for you here… just like it isn’t safe for me…” the red-haired boy continued.
“What do you mean I’m like you and why isn’t it safe for us?”
The green-eyed boy tilted his head slightly, as if to get a better look at the person he was speaking with. “I have… dreams… sometimes… Sometimes I dream of things before they happen. Sometimes… but… you are like me. I can feel it… in here.” The boy pointed at his chest, right over where his heart was.
“I still don’t understand. How am I like you?”
“You feel things from other people… feelings. Sometimes you know things that other people don’t know. I know you do because I can feel it!”
The crowed became noisy again for a moment and the gangly boy waited until they were quiet before continuing.
“That man…” The teenager pointed toward the crowd. “He is dangerous. Those guys up there with him are going to die. He chooses one of them… I don’t know how it works… but he chooses one and he becomes that person. Only in body though. It’s like he removes the soul somehow and takes over.”
“What about the other boys?”
The red-haired teenager frowned. “They die… they die, but they still follow him. Even in death they follow him. They become part of him somehow. It’s all so confusing, I really don’t understand it, but I can feel it! I can feel it and he hates me because of it. I’ve tried to tell the people but they don’t listen to me. They think I’m crazy, but I’m not. I swear it.”
“Why don’t you leave this place?”
“I can’t. I don’t know anything about surviving outside of a town and we are far away from… well, anywhere. I’m bound to this place… maybe I can do something to stop this… but I don’t know what… It’s frightening… the place he takes them to.” The green-eyed boy pointed and his listener turned around.
His mouth dropped open.
Among the shanties and shacks of the village stood…
When the Japanese boy didn’t answer, Wufei sighed. It was all so… confusing. It was frustrating… this feeling of something missing… of not knowing…
Wufei looked down at the boy. “Why are you here?”
The child looked past the porch at the rain and seemed lost in thought for some time, or maybe, Wufei thought, perhaps, the boy didn’t know why here was here…
“I’m waiting,” came an unsteady reply after several minutes.
Wufei looked closer at the boy and saw a tear slide down the blue eyed boy’s cheek.
“What’s wrong?” Wufei asked in concern.
The boy’s lower lip began to tremble slightly. “I don’t wanna do it…” he whispered.
Wufei’s eyebrows knit together. “You don’t want to do what?”
But the Japanese boy seemed not to hear and continued to whisper, though Wufei didn’t think the boy was talking to him any longer. “I don’t wanna… please don’t make me. Please…”
“I’m sure everything will be alright…” Wufei began, trying to help.
Suddenly, the child turned and cried angrily, “No! It won’t be alright. You don’t know anything. You shouldn’t even be here…” The child’s tirade stopped suddenly and the boy’s eyes seemed to go out of focus for a moment. When the dark-haired boy looked at Wufei, he looked afraid and a haunted look filled the boy’s eyes.
“It’s time…” the boy whispered.
His mouth fell open and he whispered, “I know that place...” He did know that place, but he wasn’t sure where… everything was all jumbled in his mind. He turned and caught the green eyes of the other boy.
“Somehow, I’m going to stop this… even if it destroys the whole town. It’s better for one town to be lost then have that man alive and free to go where he wants in the world…” the red haired boy said.
“Do you have a plan?”
“Yes.” The boy held up a hand. “Don’t ask me to explain. It isn’t important.” The gangly boy looked gravely into his eyes. “Listen to me. This is really important.” The green eyed boy grabbed his listener by the shoulders. “If you don’t remember anything else, remember this. You aren’t really here. Do you understand? You must not come here. You must stay away.”
He lifted his hands as if to grab the gangly boy’s arms. When he did, the red-haired boy let go and grabbed onto the hands, weaving his fingers with the other boy’s and pulled him close so that their eyes were inches from one another. “Don’t forget!” The green-eyed boy whispered savagely, then let go of the other’s hands, pressed his palms against the other boy’s and pushed.
He felt himself fall and the world went black.
The Japanese boy walked past Wufei and over to the door of the cabin. Reluctantly the small child placed his hand on the doorknob. Without turning around the boy said, “If you value your life… your freedom… your… sanity… don’t follow me. Go back to where you are…”
Wufei watched the boy open the door and walk into the darkness beyond. The closing of the door was silent, yet it seemed to echo loudly in his ears. He walked to the short side of the veranda, peered into the dirty window, and could barely see the stairs in the dark recesses of the cabin.
Without warning, two figures appeared in the window. One of the figures had a long braid and was helping the other figure who seemed to be in pain or afraid. Suddenly the second figure turned and looked at Wufei making him gasped.
It was the boy who he had just been talking with… only… this boy looked to be around Wufei’s age… Wufei felt a shiver go down his spine at the dark look coming from the deep blue eyes. The Japanese boy turned away as the two figures started up the stairs, and within moments the two were swallowed in the darkness.
I don’t wanna… please don’t make me… The words from the child echoed in Wufei’s head.
Something bad was going to happen to the braided one. He was sure of it… He was also sure that he knew both of the figures… even though he couldn’t think of where he knew them from.
Determined to help, Wufei strode to the wooden entrance of the cabin, opened the door and disappeared in the darkness beyond.